The adsorption of water on a RuO2(1 1 0) surface was studied by using high-resolution electron energy loss spectroscopy (HREELS) and thermal desorption spectroscopy (TDS). The first thermal desorption peak observed between 350 and 425 K is attributed to molecular water adsorbed on fivefold coordinated Rucus sites. Higher coverages of water give rise to TDS peaks between 190 and 160 K, which we attribute to water in the second layer bound to bridge oxygen, and multilayers, respectively. HREELS shows that H2O chemisorbs on Rucus sites through oxygen inducing a slight red shift of the vibrational frequency of Obridge atoms. Molecular adsorption is also confirmed by the presence of both the scissor and the libration modes showing the expected isotopic shift for D2O. The water adsorbed on the Rucus sites also forms hydrogen bonds with the bridge oxygen indicated by the broad intensity at the lower frequency side of the O–H stretch mode. HREELS and TDS results suggest that on the perfect RuO2(1 1 0) surface water dissociation is almost negligible.